*Disclaimer: I am a 2016 Ambassador for the California Strawberry Commission, however all opinions, experiences and enjoyment of strawberries are completely my own!
Summertime is the perfect time to keep meals and treats light and healthy by choosing fresh, seasonal foods. So many of the foods we crave and long to eat during the fall and winter months are not only at their seasonal peak right now, fruits like strawberries, mangos, melons and grapes are at their peak in flavor and nutrition! You're likely to find these brightly colored, juicy, sweet foods at a low price at your local market because they are currently being harvested and available in abundance. What's so great about eating by the season? This 2008 study published in the International Journal of Food Sciences and Nutrition indicated that eating seasonal foods (as opposed to concentrating on conventional vs. organic) was most indicative of nutritional quality.
Unfortunately, there are people and groups out there with a megaphone to their mouths (and their typing fingers) trying to discourage us from eating these delicious, seasonal foods if they aren't organically grown. People (*cough*Food Babe*cough*) and groups attempt to scare us away from eating conventionally grown produce because they're doused with "toxins" and "chemicals," and that rhetoric can strip away some of the pleasure we gain from eating foods we love. Tactics like this overshadow the fact that, time and time again, science has proven these foods (regardless of growing method) fight diseases like cancer, heart disease, hypertension, weight gain and the list goes on and on and on! Environmental Working Group (EWG) publishes their Dirty Dozen list that discourages the consumption of conventionally grown produce. They base their information on USDA's Pesticide Data Program yet do not cite this source on their website, perhaps because also included in that report is information stating pesticide residue does not pose a safety concern. On SafeFruitsandVeggies.com pesticide residue calculator, you'll see than a woman can eat 2042 servings of strawberries in one day without any effect even if the strawberries have the highest pesticide residue recorded for strawberries by USDA. It's truly impossible for anyone to eat this many strawberries in one day!
Now, if you're like me and jump at the chance at buying four clamshells of strawberries for less than $10, you may be wondering how we can eat so many before they start going bad. With food waste being such a big problem in our country, the last thing I want to do is let these beauties sit too long in my fridge and get fuzzy! After all, one serving of 8 strawberries provides 140% of Daily Value of vitamin C, 12% of Daily Value for dietary fiber and has only 45 calories and 7 grams of sugar (that's 1/2 a serving of carbohydrate for people meal planning for diabetes management). Recipes like my Strawberry Limón Paletas help me use up (and eat up!) a whole package of sweet, seasonal, healthy strawberries in a cool and fun way! Five ingredients, a frozen pop mold, a freezer and voila, a healthy treat is created.
Be sure to check out the text nestled in with the photos below on how you can modify this recipe for an adult crowd and how you can prepare this recipe with kids! Have fun!
Strawberry Limón Paletas
Recipe by: Christy Wilson, RD
Serves: 10 paletas (about 1/3 cup mixture each)
Total time: 10 minutes prep, 5 hours to freeze
- 1 pound strawberries, rinsed and hulled (about 3 cups)
- 1/4 cup freshly squeezed lime juice
- 2 tablespoons honey
- 2 mint leaves (1/2 teaspoon)
- 1/2-1 cup ice cubes
- Optional: 1/8 teaspoon Tajin seasoning for added flavor
- Add all ingredients into a blender and blend to desired consistency.
- Divide pureed mixture into ice-pop molds (about 1/3 cup). Cover and insert sticks. Freeze until solid or at least 5 hours.
- Dip molds briefly in warm water to release pops.
- Optional: Sprinkle pops with a pinch of Tajin seasoning before serving. (Additional Tajin seasoning is not included in nutrition analysis)
Nutrition Facts per serving: 1 paleta
Calories: 30, Total fat: 0 gr; Cholesterol: 0gr; Sodium: 0mg; Total Carbohydrate: 7gr; Dietary Fiber: 1gr; Sugar: 5gr; Protein: 0gr; Vit C: 50%
One of best things about summer is cooling down with frozen treats! When those frozen treats also happen to be healthy, it makes the indulgence all the sweeter (pun intended!!). Made with whole food ingredients, there is zero guilt involved when it comes to enjoying these paletas. If you're preparing these for an adult crowd and want to spike things up a bit, add any desired amount of tequila into the blender with all the other ingredients, then immediately pour the mix into the pop mold and place into the freezer. Make sure to CLEARLY MARK the boozy batch if you're preparing these paletas for a mixed crowd--especially if kids are involved!
Teach kids about food & science in the kitchen!
This is a fun recipe to get kids involved in the kitchen! They can help rinse the strawberries, juice the limes, tear the mint leaves, squeeze the honey bottle, and toss the ice cubes right into the blender. Once the lid is tightly secured onto the blender, allow them to turn it on so they can see all the ingredients break down into a slurry. This is a fantastic opportunity to not only talk about how the foods in this recipe taste, smell and feel, it's the perfect time to talk about why they are good for us. For instance, strawberries have lots of vitamin C that is good for our skin and keeps our bodies healthy! Preparing simple recipes like this with kids gives adults the chance to reinforce safety in the kitchen and it's a fun way to talk about science! In this recipe, the process of freezing changes solid foods into a liquid and then back into a frozen solid!